CFDB - Cystic Fibrosis DataBase

primary studies published RCT

The effectiveness of a mobile high-frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) device for airway clearance.

Study design (if review, criteria of inclusion for studies)

Randomized, open-label, crossover pilot study.


Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF).


High-frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO). A standard nonmobile HFCWO device (sHFCWO) was used as a comparator

Outcome measures

Sputum was collected during and after each therapy session, while spirometry tests, Brody score assessment and functional respiratory imaging were performed before and after treatments.

Main results

Wet weight of sputum collected during and after treatment was similar for mHFCWO and sHFCWO (6.53 ± 8.55 vs 5.80 ± 5.82; P = .777). Interestingly, the mHFCWO treatment led to a significant decrease in specific airway volume (9.55 ± 9.96 vs 8.74 ± 9.70 mL/L; P < .001), while increasing specific airway resistance (0.10 ± 0.16 vs 0.16 ± 0.23 KPA*S; P < .001). These changes were heterogeneously-distributed throughout the lung tissue and were greater in the distal areas, suggesting a shift of mucus. Changes were accompanied by an overall improvement in the Brody index (57.71 ± 16.55 vs 55.20 ± 16.98; P = .001).

Authors' conclusions

The newly developed mobile device provides airway clearance for CF patients comparable to a nonmobile sHFCWO device, yielding a change in airway geometry and patency by the shift of mucus from the more peripheral regions to the central airways.

Keywords: Adult; Aged; Airway clearance technique; Child; High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation -HFCWO-; non pharmacological intervention - devices OR physiotherapy; VEST Airway Clearance System; oscillating devices; Chest physiotherapy; Bacterial Infections; Respiratory Tract Infections; Respiratory Tract Diseases; Infection; Exacerbation;